Kumaratunga impervious to power sharing -legal expert

[TamilNet, Monday, 13 August 2001, 15:41 GMT]
"The prorogation of the Parliament was legal but it was used to foist an unconstitutional action on the people," said Dr.Rohan Edirisingha, a legal and constitutional expert with the Centre for Policy Alternatives in Colombo, speaking at seminar for Tamil journalists Monday. Responding to a question on the prospects of a national government Dr.Edirisingha said: "President Chandrika Kumaratunga is totally unaware of the implications of power sharing." The two-day seminar Media Freedom and Human Rights was organised by the Tamil Media Alliance and the Home for Human Rights in Colombo.

rohan_edirisingha.jpgDiscussing the attitude of the Supreme Court in dispensing justice in cases involving Tamils, Dr.Edirisingha attributed it to the lack of judicial sensitivity to the complexities of the ethnic problem. He said that it was also due to the problem of judicial restraint where judges want to "pass the buck" on sensitive political or national security issues.

Mr. Sunanda Deshapriya, the convener of the Free Media Movement, addressed the seminar in the afternoon. He said there is no freedom of information act in Sri Lanka. "Therefore there is no right to information. There are various laws that prevent the citizen from getting correct information that he/she may want.

"The media in Sri Lanka is divided between the state and independent media organisations. It is also ethnically divided. So much so that the same news is expressed differently in Tamil, English and Sinhala media. When a soldier is killed in the war the Sinhala press uses the expression "he paid the supreme sacrifice" to report the death but when a Tigers is killed it is just "he or she died or was killed," Mr. Deshapriya said.

"Media persons should exercise their rights not just on their own behalf but also on behalf of all the citizens of their country. Therefore they should have a sense of social responsibility," he added.

 

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